In 2015, Justin Bieber filmed his video “I’ll Show You” in a pristine Iceland canyon. Now, the country has been forced to close Fjadrárgljúfur Canyon after thousands of Bieber fans flocked to the area, destroying the fragile ecosystem. According to Bloomberg, the country has posted roadblocks and rangers to try and deter eager fans from trying to recreate the magic of the music video.
Bieber has 105 million followers on his Twitter account, only below Barack Obama and Katy Perry in terms of followers. He also has 112 million followers on Instagram. So when the pop star posts something, you know it’s getting views. “I’ll Show You” garnered over 440 million watches since 2015.
In the video, the singer wanders around the pristine canyon, bathing in the icy water of the river, walking across mossy landscapes, and sitting at the edge of a cliffside.
Since then, over a million people have come to the canyon to get a peek at the spot where Bieber filmed the video.
Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson says that the influx isn’t all Bieber’s fault, saying “a bit too simplistic to blame the entire situation on Justin Bieber.” But he notes that celebrities do have a responsibility to consider the consequences of their decisions.
“Rash behavior by one famous person can dramatically impact an entire area if the mass follows,” he said.
“In Justin Bieber’s defense, the canyon did not, at the time he visited, have rope fences and designated paths to show what was allowed and what not,” Gudbrandsson added.
Some of those eager Bieber fans try to get around the obstacles in order to see the canyon. Ranger Hanna Jóhannsdóttir says that she gets bribes from people all the time to open the gate that blocks road access.
“Food from people’s home country is the most common bribery,” she said.
But she has also been offered trips to Dubai in turn for looking the other way, but she has declined all of the offers.
Iceland itself has seen a huge increase in the number of visitors recently. The country has had an increase of 20 percent, with 600,000 visitors eight years ago compared to 2.3 million tourists this year. The influx has put a strain on the environment and infrastructure.
The canyon will remain closed this year except for a few weeks during the summer, weather permitting. That’s good news for the environment since the canyon was also featured in Game of Thrones during the final season.